I sent my tailoring to Sigrun, 3 or 4 suits, a few skirts and some pants taken in, and she did a spectacular job. One of the suits was the suit I bought for Gabe's funeral. The suit fitted me badly, and so Sigrun has tailored it beautifully, finishing the corners, tucking in the ends - making it an ideal fit. It is the most remarkable work of sewing I have seen in a long time. I saw myself in the mirror this morning, and I looked and I thought that it was like a new suit.
It will never be a new suit, it will be anything, all of Sigrun's care aside, other than an old suit made over. And lest you think that I am in some way complaining, that this is a grievance, it's truly not.
Thinking historically, this notion of made over is not unique. Indeed, it is singularly unique that we throw out our clothes. My mother, she speaks fondly of her first suit, made in Toronto, by a tailor, of solid wool. A suit that was made just for her. A suit that lasted 15 years, and was changed in that time. A suit that became completely hers.
I am an old suit, made over. Grieving Gabriel has changed me, altered me, tailored me. I have been trimmed and tucked, stretched, given ease and and short-shift, all at the same time. I am old, made new. Changed, transformed.
The world does not like made over. We would rather have badly made new from Wal-mart than well constructed old from Value Village. We like the smell and look of shiny-newness. New speaks to us of of comfort, of prosperity, of good times, a bright future. Made-over we instinctively associate made-over with poverty and dour-ness, sadness, the taste of bitter root heavy on our tongues, our worries weighing down our shoulders.
Being a made-over woman has not been comforting. The suit fits me far better than grief and sorrow ever did. I am, in a particular way, a pariah. When I speak of pregnancy, of child birth, and I do, I see looks on other women's faces. I see them and they wish I would be silent. Gabriel's name startles them, they are uncomfortable, and he floats between us, weighing on them, they are uncomfortable with death so close. They wish to continue in new-ness, leaving my made-over self in a silent corner.
Gal wrote on GITW the other day, about being a better person after Tikva's death. And that resonated with me. For all of my isolation, my protestations against new, for all the times that new silences my made-over self, it seems to me, I have some choices in the made over business, my horizons are broader than buying new. New is a fait d'acompli. No, these are not the horizons that I wanted, expected, wished for. But they are the horizons that I am given, and in them, I have choice.